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Eric Berg
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1/24 Aoshima '93 4Runner

September 23, 2022 · in Automotive · · 13 · 1.2K

has long produced excellent curbside car kits that are superbly engineered and a heck of a lot of fun to build. I had to take a break from building nothing but airplanes over the last three years and this was the perfect remedy. I choose to model an American 4Runner because of my fond memories driving a ‘93 4x4 stick all over Costa Rica with my wife and kids decades ago. I currently own (since day one) an '01 SR5 4x4 in perfect shape that is just about to hit 185K, a teenager in my book. Most reliable vehicle I've ever owned - dirt cheap to maintain and never rattles when it returns to pavement after hours of dirt fun. So this was a perfect kit choice for me.

This Aoshima /Surf (that's what they called the Japanese version back then in lieu of "4Runner") has been around and upgraded many times since it was a new tool in '92, which I guess makes this “vintage” kit nowadays. Because all the parts are in the box of this 2019 re-pop along with new decals and masks to build an American 4Runner, I used a combo of ideas from that '93 I drove and my current '01. Not much to say here, other than this kit is a sweet dream to build. Aoshima's user-friendly instructions are similar to Tamiya and likewise, the parts are almost as impeccable except for a tiny bit of flash here and there. The kit comes with paint masks, extra clear parts, two roof racks, multiple wheel sets and three bumper choices, in addition to very well detailed left and right hand dashboards allowing one to go with the Japanese or American version – automatic transmission only. There's no engine, open hood or tailgate but the underside is superbly detailed and more than makes up for it. I moved the spare wheel to underneath the rear of the chassis instead of hanging it on the rear gate.

The only thing Aoshima forgot is the retractable radio antenna that is shown on the box art, but missing in action, but I took care of that.

Like most hard top car models without opening doors, once you attach the body, you can't see a darned thing behind the front seats, which for some reason were molded minus seat backs that I scratched in place.]

Materials used:
  • Bare Metal Chrome Foil
  • Tamiya TS-Dark Green lacquer rattle (un-decanted)
  • Various acrylic and lacquer brush paints.
  • CA license plates printed on high quality glossy photo paper from
    ThreeInchesUnder (Etsy), used as a master.
  • Adhesive non-skid stair tread piece for the rear bumper
  • Evergreen styrene sheet pieces.

    Hats off to Aoshima for making great kits like this. You really get a lot of bang for your buck. To me, the end result looks just like my own “vintage” 4Runner (although different color) that is sitting in the driveway as I write this. A very satisfying build from beginning to end!

Thanks for looking.

Reader reactions:
3  Awesome

4 additional images. Click to enlarge.

13 responses

  1. Turned out great, Eric, love the additions and modifications you made, and the colour really suits it. Aoshima, Fujimi and Nu-Nu seem to be part of the group. The Prado is really popular where I live in China, a kind of modern equivalent I guess.

  2. If you posed that with one of Charles King's backdrops, you could think it's real. Nice work!

  3. Excellent job, my friend @eb801!
    A winner!

  4. Nice job, Eric. I was thinking the same thing Tom mentioned...realistic.

  5. Seems like you had great fun in building this 4x4 and still are enjoying 4x4 in real, Eric @eb801
    Beautiful result.

  6. Eric, what a great inspired build!

    Your build has inspired me to soon put finishing touches on an Aoshima '92 'Yota Double Cab Pickup that I 80% completed before taking a break from modelling years ago. It's a bit of a custom job, lifted and such, but it's a metallic dark green, so your build really struck a chord. With now five aircraft on the bench all waiting for paint... now might be a good time...

    Great choice of vehicle too, '01 was on the cusp of when the penny pinching really began...

  7. Real late for the party on this one, I am a big fan of this generation of the Toyota 4runner having a 2000 SR5 with the 3.4L V6. Loved it and miss it more. Too bad Aoshima didn't do a kit of th 96-2002 series. Though I may just get the one you have. Nice 4runner. thanks for sharing.

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

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